Binging Stranger Things on Netflix, Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime Video, Secret invasion on Disney Plus, and The last of us at Max is a luxury. It’s a favorite pastime that, while it once seemed like a small discretionary expense, is now becoming a serious drag on my finances, especially since pretty much every service is raising their prices.
In my house, there is an ongoing conversation about these costs and those associated with them, such as the Internet providing the streams and cable TV that are increasingly on the sidelines, but at least, if not more expensive than all the streaming services combined.
Oddly, the conversations all go the same way and usually start right after we pay our monthly bills.
“This is way too much.”
I look at my wife and nod in agreement.
“We have to look at what all this is costing us and cut something out.”
I make a serious face and nod again in agreement.
That’s usually the end of it. We totally agree that we spend too much on online entertainment and then lack the will to tackle it.
Doing the math
Still, the recent news about service fee hikes raised new concerns and prompted me to create a little spreadsheet to try to understand exactly how much we spend each month and in a year, and what, if anything, we should do about it.
Coming up with a number isn’t as easy as you think, especially since several video streaming services are actually part of larger and seemingly more affordable bundles.
Apple TV Plus, for example, is bundled into the Apple One Premium plan, which includes 2TB of iCloud storage for my family, along with News, Fitness+, Arcade and TV Plus. If I’m being honest with myself, the only mission critical element in there is the storage space.
Similarly, Amazon Prime Video is part of Amazon Prime. If so, I like and probably need the discounts and 2-day shipping (along with other services) that come with Prime Video.
For the purposes of my spreadsheet, I looked at what Apple and Amazon charge for standalone video services. Prime would be $14.99 per month and Apple TV Plus would be $6.99 per month.
Here is my list of streaming and traditional content sources along with supported technologies:
- Disney Plus: $13.99
- Peacock: $4.99
- Max: $19.99
- Netflix: $19.99
- Prime Video: $14.99
- Apple TV Plus: $6.99
- Internet: $49
- TV/Cable: $130
I also get Hulu, but we currently share a relative’s account. But when the price goes up and Disney and Hulu start cracking down on password sharing, we might have to add that to our list as well. For now, though, I’ve left Hulu off the list.
When I add all of this up, it’s almost $260 a month, and it adds up to about $3,120 a year.
I know, it’s a lot less than what you might pay for rent or your mortgage and even comes in lower than the annual nut for a new car, but it’s not insignificant. I’m also leaving out the monthly fees the cable company charges me for the benefit of having high-speed fiber, cable boxes, and Wi-Fi extenders. With inflation still rising, spending all that money on mostly entertainment (and okay, connectivity I use for work at least two days a week) seems ridiculous.
It’s easy to say, “Well, let’s dump Disney Plus” after we’ve eaten Guardians of the Galaxy 3Exit secret invasion, and see it all Andor, I’m not sure there’s anything left to see anyway. Similarly, with Amazon, I’m not sure why I still have it. I haven’t jumped to see Jack Ryan and Amazon recently removed crazy with you a classic sitcom from the 1990s that I was in the middle of re-watching.
Netflix has fewer classic movies and the original stuff is of such uneven quality that I might not miss it either.
Max is massive and yet with Last of us finished and my wife almost through Sex in the city reboot And just like thatwhat is left to see?
Jokes to myself
Who am I kidding? I can easily drop any or all of them (with the exception of the bundles), but I’ll be back as soon as a new must-watch series or movie drops.
In reality, it might not be so much time for me to cut the streamers I still do and want to watch, but finally regret my unholy marriage to cable.
Why do I still have cable? I have an old man’s fondness for broadcast news, which I sometimes still appear on, and the other program I occasionally appear on, Lives with Kelly and Mark, is not on any streamer. But my segments usually end up on YouTube, so that’s not much of an excuse.
The truth is, I could save quite a bit by ditching basic or medium cable while keeping internet.
I say that, but that’s with the assumption that my cable provider won’t just raise my internet fees because I’m no longer getting a triple-play package.
Okay, they made me come and go.
I may also be able to save a bit by ditching most of the Apple One and keeping only the family friendly 2TB service.
What to do then
In any case, my advice to you is this. Open a spreadsheet and take a critical look at where you spend money and make some tough choices. Streaming prices will never drop again. Entertainment companies can combine and rename, but these efficiencies won’t help you and they will always ask for more.
Streaming content and the ability to binge on unlimited amounts of it is a dopamine hit that we can’t easily stop. We are streaming content junkies and these companies know it. They have already proven that not only can they raise their rates with impunity, but they can also crack down on password sharing, and while we moan about the unfairness of it all, we stand in line kicking freeloaders off our plans and paying for others, we have shared.
This has to stop somewhere, with someone. Maybe it should start with me.
Am I strong enough to say goodbye to one or more streamers and all my cable TV shows? I think. I hope so.
When is the last season of Stranger Things coming out again?
#spend #year #streaming #internet #cable #dont #leave